Trouble Looms for Manitoba P.C Party as One-Third of Elected Members Will Not Seek Re-election
The Progressive Conservative (P.C.) Party in Manitoba is facing a significant challenge ahead of the upcoming elections, as almost one-third of its elected members have announced that they will not seek re-election. This is a troubling sign for the party in power, as the opposition party, Manitoba NDP, led by Wab Kinew, has been surging in the polls and is currently favoured to form the government in October of 2023.
On Wednesday, Shannon Martin (P.C), MLA for McPhillips, informed Manitoba Premier Stefanson of his decision not to seek re-election in the upcoming fall election. Martin was first elected in the 2014 by election in Morris and currently represents the riding of McPhillips due to the ward boundaries realigning. In his nearly decade of politicals, Martin has never been elevated from the back bench to serve in an official ministerial role.
In an interview on Wednesday, Martin refers to political life as a relationship; there are highs and lows, which is a balancing act. Though Martin acknowledged the great people he served, he looks forward to spending time with family and moving forward.
The P.C. Party won a decisive victory in the 2019 elections, capturing 36 of the 57 seats in the Legislative Assembly. However, the announcement by 12 of their elected members, including some of the most senior and prominent ones, that they will not be running for re-election is a major setback for the party.
The reasons for the sudden exodus are unclear, but it has sparked concern among the P.C. Party leadership and supporters. The party’s internal issues and potential conflict between factions have also been speculated as reasons behind the departure of the MLAs. Non more evident than the leadership race between Stefanson and Glover that divided the party, drained in its coffers on lawyers and legal fees to settle the matter.
The Manitoba NDP has been quick to capitalize on this development, and they have have seized the moment on the P.C. Party’s perceived instability and the need for a change in government. The NDP’s success in recent by-elections and the lead they hold in opinion polls make their position all the more formidable.
The current political landscape in Manitoba sharply contrasts the 2019 election, where the P.C. Party captured a significant majority, and the NDP retained its official opposition status. However, in the years since the election, the P.C. Party’s popularity has waned while the NDP has steadily gained ground.
The departure of such a significant number of the party’s elected members is undoubtedly a blow to the P.C. Party’s hopes for re-election. The loss of senior and experienced members could potentially lead to a power vacuum, with no clear successor to take their place.
The departures come at a time when the Manitobans continue to feel the financial struggles at the grocery stores; healthcare wait times are still an issue as there still remains a huge shortage of doctors and healthcare professionals. The Manitoba NDP is a significant threat to the P.C. Party’s hopes for re-election, and it is only a matter of time, before the nasty attack ads start to air. With the elections just a few months away, the P.C. Party will need to work hard to regain momentum and counter the NDP’s growing popularity.
Image source, Martin Social Media